It’s that Time of Year – The Green Flash!

sunset nov 27

If you’ve been following this blog for quite some time, you have probably noticed that I love watching the sun set every night. Well this time of year is extra special because it’s the one time of year we can we possibly see the green flash.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the green flash, it’s something very cool that can happen around over the winter months. Just as the sun sets over the horizon, you can see a quick flash of green as the upper rim of the sun falls into the water. (It obviously doesn’t fall into the water, but you all know what I mean :) ) It only lasts for about a second or two, so you really have to be lucky to actually see it. I’ve only seen it a handful of times, but it was very cool.

Anne Bequette is a photographer here on island. She was lucky enough to capture pics of the green flash last night. Check it out:

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

Image credit: STJ Creative

After first posting about the green flash a few years ago, I learned that it can also happen when the sun rises up from the water at dawn. Unfortunately I have yet to see that, but my guess is that you have a pretty good chance if you’re out on the east side of the island.

So, if you are lucky enough to have a sunrise or sunset view where you live or are staying, be sure to look for the green flash. I promise you it’s very cool. And if any of you have a picture of it, please send it to us at jenn@newsofstjohn.com.

11 comments for “It’s that Time of Year – The Green Flash!

  1. Mary Moon
    December 19, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Totally cool. Would love to see video of it some day. Maybe one day I will get to see it in person.

  2. Mark Anderson
    December 19, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I was on island 11/24/18 to 12/8/18 and stayed at the top of Cruz Bay at Sunset Ridge villas and actually saw 4 green flashed during those two weeks. Absolutely stunning!

  3. Ann
    December 19, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the photos! I saw “The Flash” once watching the sunset on Grand Cayman. I had heard about it and watched for it over many trips to the islands.
    I couldn’t help jumping up and down with my arms in the air and laughing like a
    child.

    Surprisingly few people have heard of it when I mention the green flash on the ocean’s horizon. Maybe it’s because we live in land-locked Colorado!!!

    Here’s to more trips to the islands in search of that elusive wonder.

  4. Gina
    December 19, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I didn’t realize you could only see the flash at certain times of the year. I thought there was a chance whenever the sun touched the ocean. Learn something new every day. :)

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      December 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      You are correct. But we can only see it here during this time of year due to the area when the sun sets.

      • Gina
        December 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        Oh I see those other pesky islands get in the way?? :) See, learned something new!

  5. Eduardo
    December 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Someone take a video, pretty please?. Thanks!

  6. Kevin
    December 19, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    I was fortunate to be able to catch last night’s green flash from the billiard porch of Plumeria. With no camera at hand, I could enjoy it without looking through a viewfinder. It was one of the best I’ve seen; after the sun broke out below a cloud bank, it was a clear view of the sun’s disk as it set behind the sea. Vivid green for at least a full second; very cool!

    By the way, the technical explanation is that the sun has actually set by that point, at least in yellow to red light. The atmosphere, just as a prism, refracts shorter wavelengths more strongly, so the green part of the sun’s light gets bent by the atmosphere and makes it to our eye for a second or so, even as the sun proper has already set.
    As to the time of year bit, these days for a month or so either side of the winter solstice, the sun sets on the ocean instead of St. Thomas. For the green flash, you need a water horizon. But for a few weeks either side of the summer solstice, the sun also sets in the water behind Thatch Cay (at least, from the altitude of Gifft Hill). Down in Cruz Bay, it is probably a winter-only thing.

  7. Joe
    December 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Nothing better than a sunset in St John. Nothing

  8. Robo
    December 19, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    We just got back from a couple of weeks staying way up on Bordeaux Mt, and were lucky enough to see the flash on several evenings. Heard island custom was to celebrate with a shot of rum. Hoping we did the right thing!

  9. Doug
    December 20, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I was at Key West’s Mallory Square for the daily sunset party many years ago and saw the elusive green flash for the first time (after being a bit of a sceptic). Stunned, I turned to some people next to me and said Green Flash! and they said they saw it also. I am now one of the lucky ones who tells others of its elusive beauty! Heading back to St John in January and will be going for my second sighting!! Doug from Delaware

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